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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2012 Spring Issue]>[News Plus] U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos talks with about 50 students Graciously answered a wide range of questions during a relaxed exchange

Hakumon CHUOIndex

[News Plus]

U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos talks with about 50 students
Graciously answered a wide range of questions during a relaxed exchange

On December 8, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Japan, John V. Roos, visited the Tama Campus of Chuo University for a talk with students. The talk was held as an academic event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Chuo University Association of Student Clubs. Ambassador Roos had a relaxed exchange of opinions with about 50 students in the small 3rd-floor auditorium of the C-Square Student Center. A live video-feed of the talk was broadcast with simultaneous interpretation in a hall on the 2nd floor.

To begin, Ambassador Roos stated his following reasons for visiting universities throughout Japan: 1) current students are a generation which will be deeply involved in future Japan-U.S. relations, and 2) current students hold the opportunities and responsibilities of a generation which was raised during the lost two decades of the Japanese economy.

The talk was held in a Q&A format in which Ambassador Roos fielded questions from students at random and then provided answers.

"What is lacking in today's youth?" asked a student at the beginning of the session. "I hope that Japanese students will take more risks and take on the world," answered Ambassador Roos. "I want you to consider matters from a global perspective and think from a variety of angles." Also, in regard to English language education in Japan, he stated that conversational ability must be refined further in order to acquire competitive power in global society.

On a related note, Ambassador Roos expressed extreme disappointment at the decreased number of Japanese students who wish to study abroad.

"Personally, I regret not having studied abroad while I was attending university," he said while emphasizing the importance of foreign study. "Your professional depth will be expanded by interacting with many different people and having various experiences."

Ambassador Roos also discussed social media such as Twitter. "They possess great power," he observed. "However, being connected with the world through social media is no excuse for not actually going and studying overseas. In order to establish close relations between countries, you must actually visit that country and meet with people face-to-face."

There were also several questions related to politics in Japan, including the changing of Prime Ministers in rapid succession. "Although such changes have no effect on fundamental Japan-U.S. relations, personal relationships between national leaders are important when dealing with diplomatic issues," noted Ambassador Roos. "We must get to know each other and establish mutual respect."

Ambassador Roos also answered a wide range of student questions including the U.S. military bases in Okinawa, participation in the TPP, the death penalty, conditions in Asia with a focus on China, whaling issue and nuclear development in America. He took his time and answered each question in detail.

Additionally, Ambassador Roos reflected on the 40 Japanese prefectures that he has visited so far. He recalled the sadness and shock that he felt upon visiting disaster areas struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th of last year.

In total, Ambassador Roos fielded more than 30 questions from students. He applauded the high level of the questions asked and chose to stay until all the students' question had been answered, which was more than an hour and a half beyond his planned departure. The talk was very relaxed and was even interspersed with occasional laughter. After the exchange, Ambassador Roos took a commemorative photograph together with participating students.

Moreover, prior to the talk with students, Ambassador Roos met and chatted with President and Chancellor Tadahiko Fukuhara, Vice President

Shigenori Wakabayashi and Mr. Stephen Hesse, Director of the International Center.

Ambassador Roos graciously answers questions from students

(Student Reporter: Yuki Nakano, 3rd year student in the Faculty of Law)